The Importance of Customer Loyalty
Like a Thief in the Night – So is Your Competition
Written by Justin Williams – Former Managing Director of Channel for SwipeClock
“Get closer than ever to your customers. So close that you tell them what they need well before they realize it themselves.” – Steve Jobs
Warren Buffett’s investment career started early and in a somewhat unexpected manner. One of his early investments was in high school, when he and a friend bought a used pinball machine for $25 and installed it in a barbershop. The game proved to be popular with the barbershop’s clientele, so the entrepreneurial duo reinvested their profits to buy more pinball machines. In time, they had eight machines in several shops.
Eventually, they sold their venture, and Buffett used his portion of the proceeds to buy stock and then launch another business. By the time he was 26, he’d accrued $174,000 — or $1.4 million in today’s market.
Undoubtedly the most successful investor of the 20th century recognized the value of reinvesting early on.
This same approach plays true as it relates to our businesses and the customers we serve. How we go about reinvesting in those customers determines how long we will keep those customers.
If we truly want to retain customers, we must move beyond price and selection. Some of the best practices we should consider are the following……
– Leverage your most under-utilized assets – your employee base. Passionate, engaged employees can deliver personal customer experiences that create customer loyalty.
– Understand and measure why your customers or clients are leaving in the first place.
– Keep a “pulse” on their satisfaction as it relates to what they think about you and your business.
– Understand that keeping the customer is just as important as it was getting them.
– Create Customer Loyalty – a loyal customer is a customer for life.
In the world of sales, I believe there is this notion that we must “Always be Closing.” I would like to think we have moved beyond that and instead of “Closing” we are more focused on “Creating” a relationship. I think it is fair to say that the sales transaction is the start of the relationship, not the end.
The competitive landscape of business is changing at an unprecedented rate. The great news here is that there is more business to be earned if you are prepared. If you aren’t prepared, don’t be all that shocked when your competition steals your clients away like a thief in the night. Unfortunately, this happens over a period of time and not all at once. So while you are out finding new customers, the ones you do have will be leaving you at a faster rate than the ones you are finding.
“65% of a company’s business comes from existing customers, and it costs five times as much to attract a new customer as it does to keep an existing one satisfied.” – Gartner
I think Jeff Bezos, CEO of Amazon said it best when he said, “We see our customers as invited guests to a party, and we are the hosts. It’s our job every day to make every important aspect of the customer experience a little bit better.”
Building strong customer loyalty requires a long-term commitment to your customer. It requires a strong one-to-one connection that can’t be broken. It requires the same care, attention and investment we put into our personal relationships. Successful relationships take work. You can’t change your customer; you can only change yourself. Understand that the client’s perspective is his or her reality. Make sure that regular tune-ups take place. Create ways to become and stay better friends. Recognize that you must give what you want to get. Lastly, honor the relationship each and every day by doing what is best for the client. When we do what is best for the client, and remove our own personal selfish interests, the relationship will flourish and yield positive returns far beyond our own expectations.